When I declared my major at the University of Maine in fall 2011, I imagined myself becoming an SLP to work with children.
In February of my senior year, while I was frantically waiting to hear back from graduate schools, I received a phone call that my best friend, Sarah, had suffered from a second hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 24 due to an arteriovenous malformation and she would be undergoing brain surgery to remove it. After her surgery, Sarah was aphasic due to damage to Broca's area. Seeing my best friend, an intelligent and outgoing young woman, without language was truly life changing. I was able to attend speech therapy with her and realized that my calling was working stroke victims. Sarah inspired me to work with those who have lost their language to strokes and other brain injuries. When I graduate from my master's program in May 2017, I plan to pursue work in the medical field where I feel so inspired to help patients get their lives back.
Our photo was taken at the American Heart Association Red Ball where Sarah, in red, was awarded the 2016 Stroke Survivor of the Year.